Independent living for persons with disability

Fifty people with disabilities are living independently in ten homes in the community belonging to Agenzija Sapport (the Support Agency).

TVM spoke to Raphael Camilleri who has been living in one of these houses for two and a half years.

With the help of the support workers, Raphael, like the other residents in these homes, has acquired basic skills on how to take care of himself and live independently.

Raphael Camilleri, 31, has been living in one of these community homes for the disabled for two and a half years.

On Skype, Raphael said that he lives with two other people and they feel so independent that this year he started playing rugby and participating in athletics.

Aġenzija Sapport has nine residences for the disabled in Malta and one in Gozo. They are home to 50 people including four children with a care order who for some reason can no longer live with their family.

The Agency’s Chief Executive, Ruth Sciberras, explained that in these homes people with disabilities live in a family environment – in a house or apartment – along with a number of carers.

“We have houses with nine people, but we also have houses with three or four people where we carry out programs for people with disabilities so that if when they go to their families, or if they ever leave the home, they will have as independent a life as possible. They have support 24 hours a day.

Ms Sciberras said that people like Raphael, do not stay home all the time but go to school or work, and some are also involved in volunteering.

With the help of support workers, the residents in these homes acquire basic skills how to take care of themselves and get used to doing personal things alone or with little help.

“We’re not there to do the person’s work for them but to show the person how to do the work because we strongly believe that these people are able to be independent and able to look after themselves.”

“Some for instance have learned how to board the bus, how to manage money, cook, and go shopping.”

The Agency also monitors people with disabilities living in the residences of non-governmental organizations.

A project is currently underway for three more homes in the community: in Kirkop, Qrendi and Zurrieq. Work on the Zurrieq home is at a very advanced state.